Sew My Style – April

I know what you’re thinking.  Maybe it’s a bit late to be posting about an April make?  That may be true, but I have a confession – I didn’t actually finish this in April.  I finished it much later than that, and now I’m playing catch up.

So far, I’ve shared my Toaster sweater, Saunio cardigan and Virginia leggings with you, and April’s Sew My Style pattern pick was the Bridgetown dress from Sew House Seven.

I love this dress and I was pleasantly surprised to find it suited me a bit more than I thought it would (though I did size down a lot).  I love the backless design, although, a couple of people on Instagram pointed out that it is reversible!  I was worried that the sleeves may have had a tendency to slide off my shoulders and that I might end up with ‘flashing issues’ (Bridget Jones, anyone?), but I have found that they behave themselves quite well actually.

The fabric
This was the most challenging bit – working with a super slippery viscose.  It’s beautiful and so, so soft, but it’s a slippery little sucker.  I got this from Sewisfaction, my new favourite place!  I so wish I lived in that neck of the woods so I could visit.

The pattern
Bridgetown, by Sew House Seven.  The instructions were easy to follow and this was a surprisingly easy make.  There are no fastenings or zips, no darts or shaping – just the elastic working its magic.  You even only have to hem the skirt because of the way the sleeve is designed.  I made no modifications whatsoever.

The cost
The fabric was £24, but I got 3 metres because I managed to get confused about how much fabric I needed.  I have absolutely loads left – enough for a top for sure.  And the pattern was around £9 with Sew My Style discount.  £33 in total.

 

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#TheBigStitch

I love a good refashion.  I love the idea of taking something unloved and turning it into something wearable again.  So when I heard about the Big Stitch campaign from the British Heart Foundation, I hopped straight on the makers’ train!

The Big Stitch is an awareness campaign, encouraging crafters to create unique additions to their wardrobes using items purchased in British Heart Foundation Shops.  A bit of fun for a great cause.  Here’s what I came up with.

I’ve said it before, but for me, refashioning isn’t about creating jaw-dropping pieces – it’s about making something you will wear.  What is the point in spending all that time and effort making something if you don’t intend to wear it?  So, after much deliberation, I decided to make myself a neutral top.  It’s the most grown up thing I’ve made in a long while.

The fabric
My starting point was two men’s shirts – one being 100% cotton and the other a cotton linen blend.  They both had a similar texture and drape though, which is what I was after.  I used the black check shirt for the bodice and the plain black for the collar and facings.

The pattern
I used my very first Seamwork pattern.  I have been a subscriber to Seamwork for ages, but rather shamefully, haven’t made anything until this.  It’s the Addison top.  It was a very easy pattern to follow, but I still got to try out a couple of new techniques.

  1. I have never sewn a v-neck before.  Now, if I’m being totally honest, I found this part to be really fiddly and difficult.  However, I confess to not having done any research into the ins and outs of v-necks before sewing – I just jumped in.  Next time, I will most definitely look into it in more detail because I must have been doing something wrong.  It’s still a bit funky and I’m not 100% happy with it, but it’s hidden by the bow so I’m not getting too bent out of shape about it.
  2. The way the facings and side seams come together is really interesting and completely new to me.  It’s hard to explain how it’s done, but I’m wondering whether it’s the ‘burrito’ method I’ve heard about?  Whatever it was, it worked!

Modifications
I did the pussy bow hack provided by Seamwork as an members’ extra.  I thought it would make the most of a contrast collar and waste less fabric.  Although the pattern doesn’t have a button band, my shirt did, so I kept it for a bit more interest.  It is sewn closed at the top so it is a purely decorative feature.  I switched out the boring shirt buttons for prettier ones from my stash (which were rescued from a holey cardigan).  I also reused the hems on the shirt as a time saver, so the shape of my Addison is slightly different to that of the pattern.

Notes
I love this top, and I really like the fit.  However, if I had traced and cut my pattern according to the body measurements, as suggested, it would have been huge.  I ended up going two sizes down, after looking at the finished garment measurements and realising that there is rather a lot of ease involved.  I would definitely advise a look at the finished garment measurements before you trace or cut – decide how much ease you’d like and go with your gut.

The cost
The shirts were £7.50 (for both) and the pattern set me back one of my Seamwork credits, which we’ll call £3.  I already had everything else I needed.  That’s a grand total of £10.50.

Sew My Style – March

Let’s talk about leggings.  I must confess, I’m not a leggings wearer.  Not because I don’t like them, but because I rather feel my thighs aren’t quite slim enough.  If I wear leggings I wear them under dresses in place of tights.  Or because I’m  doing exercise.  I wouldn’t wear leggings as trousers.  I hate the idea of making something I wouldn’t wear – that seems very wasteful to me.  I was so convinced February’s pattern pick wouldn’t suit me that I made it for mt friend Rachel.  So when I saw this pattern for #SewMyStyle, I said to my sister that I’d either have to make boring black leggings or completely whacky dog-walking leggings, otherwise I just wouldn’t wear them.  And who wants to make boring black leggings?  Not me!  Not us!  We made matching marble leggings 😀

The pattern
Megan Nielsen’s Virginia leggings.  I was really surprised at how easy these were to make!  I don’t know why, but I had always assumed the would be tricky to sew.  But there are only two pattern pieces for these Virginia leggings – the leg (of which you cut two) and the waistband.  The instructions are really easy to follow, and the construction couldn’t be easier.  I traced off my pattern, cut my fabric and sewed these in less than three hours!  Perfect for my hectic lifestyle – I don’t get much free time to sew these days, so quick projects are all the more satisfying.

The fabric
An amazing marble print scuba from Fabric Styles.  It was really easy to work with, and I will most definitely be using scuba again.  I actually bought more of this fabric – I think a Tilly and the Buttons Zadie dress in this fabric, and black side panels would be perfect!  My sister’s fabric is also still available.

The cost
The fabric was £4.50 per metre, and I used just over a metre, so let’s say around £6.  The PDF pattern was £8 once coverted from Australian dollars, including the Sew My Style discount.  That’s £14 for my uber-cool marble leggings 😀

#MonetaParty Dress

Have you ever ended up with a fabric and had no idea what you’re going to make out of it?  I’m sure you understand.  This was one of those fabrics for me.  I was completely dazzled b the sparkles.  Like a niffler!  I wanted the sparkles, but I had no clue what to do with them.  Then came the #MonetaParty on Instagram, organised by the Triple Stitchers (sewpositivity, sewabigail and rach_wain) and Colette Patterns.  I wasn’t initially sure I’d have time to take part, but then I saw Abi’s sparkly Moneta and knew I had to make my own!

The pattern
Moneta by Colette Patterns, of course.  It was third time lucky for me and Colette Patterns, having tried and failed to make a pair of Juniper trousers and a Macaron dress and having rather a a traumatic time of it for both projects.  Moneta, on the other hand, was super easy and I love it!  The instructions were easy to follow and the construction is really simple.  I think I probably sewed it in about three hours.

Modifications
I swapped out the gathers for pleats, because I thought it would give the dress a smarter look.  I put inverted box pleats where the notches on the front and back skirt are.  I’m surprised at how well they’ve worked on such slinky fabric.  I also omitted the pockets, again because I didn’t think they were suited to the style of dress.  The most exciting thing though (after having a spangly dress to flounce around in, of course) is that I learned to use a twin needle!  I’m a little too excited about this, and now that I’ve cracked it I’ll be a twin needle fiend.  Sadly, because I used matching thread (silly me!), nobody can admire my handiwork on this dress, but just wait until I have the chance for contrasting topstitching!

The fabric
A very slink, very sparkly lurex jersey from the Textile Centre.  I was worried my machine would try to eat this fabric, but it actually handled it just fine – nice surprise 🙂

The cost
The fabric was an absolute bargain – a grand total of £4.48 for two metres in the Textile Centre January sale.  The pattern was about £10, and I already had everything else I needed.  Less than £15 for a party dress – win!  😀

Cleo Dress

Like the rest of the sewing universe, I’m sooooo in love with this pattern!  To tell you the truth, I’ve never been entirely sold on dungaree dresses – I’m quite curvy and always thought they would just make me look a bit round.  Enter Cleo, who started popping up on everyone’s Instagram feeds and seemed to be universally flattering 🙂

So, my friend Rachel and I decided we’d ‘host’ a #SewingCleo Insta-party, along with many fellow sewists.  Off we went to the Centre Front Studio to get up to mischief.

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Alex, Isabel, Charlotte, Rachel and me at the end of our #SewingCleo party

Now, it was an interesting day, our Cleo party – kind of a plague on all our houses.  Rachel’s machine broke a couple of hours in (luckily, the studio had spares she could use, but that was still very disorienting for her).  A couple of days later, my sister and I were trying to finish our Cleos and both our machines started doing very strange things, before mine finally gave up the ghost entirely.  Rachel and Charlotte have since managed to fix their machines with a bit of TLC, but I had to succumb to buying a new one (yay!).  Anyway, it wasn’t until a few weeks after the party, when we’d all dealt with our respective machine dramas that we’d all eventually finished our Cleos, and boy are we glad we did.

The pattern
In case you hadn’t already gathered, it’s Tilly and the Buttons’ Cleo.  I’m wearing it here with my refashioned Agnes top.

Modifications
None, in the end, but I did spend a lot of time debating whether I should do proper flat-felled seams.  Maybe next time.  Also, next time I will staystitch all the curves.  I didn’t this time because the pattern doesn’t advise it (at least, I don’t think it does), but when I came to attach my facings the shell had stretched out of shape, particularly at the back, which made it so difficult to sew.  I’ll staystitch next time to try to avoid similar difficulties.

The fabric
A fairly stable classic indigo denim from John Lewis.

The cost
This is truly shocking, but I genuinely can’t remember.  About £15 for 1.2 metres, I think.  The dungaree clips were £2.50 from a local department store (Fenwick’s, if you’re a northerner) and the topstitching thread was around £2.  Let’s call it £20 then (although that doesn’t include the cost of the pattern).

I absolutely love m first Cleo!  I’m even very impressed with my topstitching, which is the part I was dreading the most – if you’re going to topstitch with violently yellow thread, you’ve got to get it right!  I’ve already bought myself a Cleo kit for Cleo number 2.  I went for aubergine needlecord, because, purple ❤  I can’t wait to sew it up, but goodness knows when I’ll fit it in with such a busy sewing year ahead!

2017 Sewing Resolutions

Happy New Year, everyone!  I hope you’ve all started the year with a bang 🙂

I can already see that 2017 is going to be a busy year for sewing – hurrah!  As well as once again vowing to sew from my stash and have fewer works in progress (I must start finishing garments before starting another project!), I’ve decided to take part in two challenges, so I’m going to have an awful lot on my plate.  With that in mind, I thought I’d attempt to get organised and write down some resolutions.  If I have it written down here, I’ll feel more obliged to complete them, right?


Firstly, I signed up for Sew My Style, thought up by Alex over at Bluebird Fabrics.  This is a brilliant initiative promoting the slow fashion movement (something I feel very strongly about!) and encouraging young people to learn to sew.  The general idea is to sew a set garment each month for the whole year – you can read much more about it here and also take a peak at the schedule.  Lots of big names are involved – you’ll find By Hand London, Named Clothing and Megan Nielsen in there.  It’s just going to be brilliant!

The second challenge I’ll be getting involved with is Make Nine, which is the brainchild of Rochelle over at Lucky Lucille.  This is a list of nine projects to complete throughout the year.  Now, luckily for me, a couple of my Make Nine goals are actually covered in Sew My Style – score!  That will give me a little less to do.  We already know the schedule for Sew My Style,  but without further ado, let me share my Make Nine resolutions list with you.  They are in no particular order here, but I’ll probably do everything seasonally once I get going.

1. Make a coat.
I now have three or four coat patterns lined up in my stash (e.g. Papercut’s Watson and Sew Over It’s Lola from My Capsule Wardrobe), but one thing is for sure: I will at least be sewing up the Named Clothing Yona coat for Sew My Style in September, even if I don’t pluck up the courage to start the others.

2. A new Coco.
I love my first Tilly and the Buttons Coco so much!  So much, in fact, that I’m going to make a second one that is virtually identical to it.  I already have the fabric and everything.

3. Isabelle’s advent calendar.
My sewing machine broke in November before I had time to finish my lovely niece’s advent calendar, so this is on the ‘must finish’ list for next year.  I’m basing it on this lovely calendar by Amy at Stitchery Dickory Dock (excellent name!).  I’ve since managed to fix my stupid machine by the way, by simply opening it up and giving it a very thorough clean and DIY service – the problem probably had a lot to do with a very mangled pin caught in the mechanism.  Whoops!

4. Complete at least one knitted garment.
And I do not mean the cardigan I’m 95% finished, I promise!  I mean something new.  I have two possibilities lined up – this, which I’ll lengthen to make a dress, or this, which just makes me go all heart-eyed.  Thoughts?

5. Sew Over It City Break Molly dress.
I have some lovely navy and cream ponte from Sewn Bristol lined up for this – I’m ready to channel my nautical chic!

6. Complete my Dropcloth sampler.
Won’t this be a lovely addition to my sewing space?!  It’ll be a nice project to get along with while I’m commuting.  Yes, I’m one of *those* people who knits and sews on public transport.

7. Make a pair of trousers.
My first trouser making experience was not a great success.  I’ve been putting it off and off and off…  I need to overcome the fear.  No matter what, I’ll be attempting the Cali Faye Hampshire trousers in October for Sew My Style.

8. Closet Case Files Carolyn pyjamas.
I hope to get at least one pair done in January in nice, warm fabric.  I think my sister and I are going to make matching hedgehog pyjamas – eak, so excited!

9. Something involving sequins. 
In a fit of complete madness, and in a haze of all the beautiful sequinned fabrics we saw at the Knitting and Stitching Show in Harrogate, my friend Rachel and I made a pact to make ‘something sequinned’ in time for Christmas next year.  We’re resting our hopes on Harrogate having lots of lovely sequinned fabrics on offer again in 2017, so we can pick up our fabric there and make something in the following weeks.  Any tips anyone has on sewing with sequins would be gratefully received 🙂

So there you have it – my sewing resolutions for 2017.  I’m going to try to stick to them as much as I can.  I will try to be good and not stray too far away from the plan.  Wish me luck!

Sew Dots Take 2

Hello, everybody!  I hope you all had a lovely Christmas.  I had a lovely time visiting family in the Midlands and down south, before heading back home to end the festivities.  It’s safe to say I’ve indulged far too much, as one does at this time of year.  I hope your Christmases have been just as enjoyable 🙂

I thought it was about time I shared my second Sew Dots project with you all (check out my first one here).  It’s been so long since Sew Dots, but I fell ill when the time came to get some photos of my makes, so I didn’t get proper photos until recently.

The pattern: the Lilou dress from Love at First Stitch by Tilly Walnes, from Tilly and the Buttons.  As always, the instructions are excellent and the end product doesn’t disappoint 🙂  Anyone else hoping Tilly will release another book sometime?

Modifications: I added sleeves (I used the sleeve head from Mimi in Love at First Stitch, and just drew a line at the length I wanted), side seam pockets (obviously), and I self-drafted a neckline facing instead of lining the bodice.  I also added pom-pom trim to the hem as my tactile feature 🙂  I also may need to make a future alteration – even though I have been busy making toiles of this dress, this one has (annoyingly) still come up a little bit big.  Sigh.  My most recent toile fitted perfectly, so I think it must just be the weave of the cotton.  Luckily, I think I’ll just need to take the side seams in a little rather than make any huge adjustments.

The fabric: a Dashwood Studios cotton from Plush Addict, which is still available at the time of me writing this.  That hardly ever happens!  Being a cotton, it was really easy to work with.

The cost: two metres of fabric at £12 each, an invisible zip and some pom-pom trim.  Getting on for £30 for this one.

On the day I first wore this dress, despite being too disgusting to be in front of a camera, I still managed to host a cake day at work.  I’d like to thank everyone who took part in our little dotty party – whether you baked, wore dots, or donated money.  Between us all we were able to raise £120 for the RNIB!  And another big thank you to Rosie Martin for thinking this whole thing up.  There’s a round up of Rosie’s favourites here 🙂

Sew Dots Take 1

If you sew, and if you use Instagram or Twitter, you must know about the #SewDots campaign.  Sew Dots was brought to us by the wonderful Rosie Martin, author of the recently published No Patterns Needed.  When she’s not sewing or writing books about sewing, Rosie does fantastic work for the RNIB – the Royal National Institute of Blind People – helping people with visual impairments use modern technologies, such as mobile phones.  Sew Dots came as an extension of the RNIB’s Wear Dots Raise Lots, a campaign aimed at highlighting the impact of Braille, and Rosie, because she’s brilliant, thought she could rally up fellow dressmakers to try to raise even more awareness.  The idea was to sew something dotty (dots like Braille), share your creation/s on Twitter or Instagram and donate £5 to Rosie’s Just Giving page.  I sewed, and I donated, so let me share my first Sew Dots project with you.

The fabric: a white Swiss dot I picked up on eBay.  I liked the idea of Swiss dot because I wanted my projects to have 3D elements.  The dots on this fabric are perfectly reminiscent of Braille.

The pattern: I’m sure you’ve seen the latest release from Lisa Comfort at Sew Over It.  My Capsule Wardrobe: City Break has taken the sewing world by storm.  And rightfully so, everything in that e-book is beautiful!  This is my first (of many, I’m sure!) make from it – the Alex shirt.

Modifications: just two.  I used the tab from the Tilly and the Buttons Bettine pattern instead of the one provided, as the Bettine tab was a bit wider and less fiddly.  Because I’m lazy – there, I said it.  Also because I’m lazy, I was very naughty and didn’t bother with the buttonholes.  The shirt is so loose fitting that it slips over my head just fine.  In fact, I may even go down a size for my next Alex Shirt.

The cost: the fabric was £6.99 per metre.  I bought three metres, but didn’t use it all.  I used self-cover buttons, which were £2.50.  In total, that’s about £23.50.

I think Rosie has struck gold with this idea, and I’m really hoping it sticks around in future years.  This is something that means a lot to me.  I don’t think I’ve mentioned before that my father is blind.  He uses the services provided by the RNIB extensively, especially their talking book and Braille libraries.  I know he would be lost without books.  The work the RNIB does really is invaluable, and I’m a fan of any campaigns that support their work.

Vintage Vogue 9126 Pattern Hack

My blog has been shamefully neglected recently, but I have something extra exciting to share with you today – my first magazine feature!  I was asked months ago (it’s been torture keeping this to myself!) whether I’d like to be involved with a pattern hacking feature for Sew Style Vintage.  You know I love pattern hacking and refashioning and the like, so I jumped at the chance.

I won’t into my usual detail on here, as it’s all in the feature, but I wanted to share this exciting news and some photos of my finished hack 🙂  I was very kindly sent the Vogue 9126 pattern and a lovely viscose fabric with a vintage rose print.  The feature also shows off a beautiful hack by Abi over at Crafty Pinup – how lovely is her 50s frock?

The magazine is available in WH Smith stores at the moment, or you can buy a copy here if you like.  It’s a very pretty magazine, definitely one to keep, and it includes both Vogue patterns used by myself and Abi, as well as the pattern for the blue spotty dress you can see on the cover – 20 projects in total, so it’s well worth its £9.99 price tag.

Thank you so much to Sew Style Vintage for asking me to take part and printing my hack!  It’s been a real pleasure, and I’m so happy to be included in such a beautiful publication 🙂